Emergency funding worth £1.3 million will be used to build temporary classrooms at nine oversubscribed primary schools in Birmingham.
The full business case was approved by the city’s cabinet property committee which heard that there is now less accommodation in Birmingham schools than there was in 1991.
The shortage is so acute that the temporary classrooms are “urgently needed” to provide 330 places by September.
The committee heard that the growing birth rate will mean that Birmingham will have a shortage of 3,000 reception places between now and 2020.
Most of the nine schools need 30 extra places by September, but Starbank Primary, in Bordesley Green, needs 90 places by September and another 90 next year.
The extra temporary double classrooms will also include temporary kitchen and dining facilities at a cost of nearly £700,000 over two years.
The business case, which was drawn up by Steve King, from the Children, Young People and Families Directorate, said: “Three hundred and thirty places are urgently required to be available across nine schools by September 2010.
“It is intended to meet this demand initially by placing temporary accommodation.
“Permanent builds are planned for 2011 or 2012 at which point the temporary accommodation will be removed.
“Offer letters had to be made to parents for places at nine schools in April 2010, based on the proposed increase in places. Parents of reception age children need local places at their local schools.
“The option of doing nothing would mean that the city council would fail to meet its statutory obligation in providing appropriate school places for September 2010.
“Demographic changes have emerged between 2001 and 2008 showing there has been a dramatic increase in the birth rate in Birmingham of 21 per cent.
“Long-term projections suggest that this trend will continue. Projections indicate that the number of births will reach levels not seen since the baby boom of the 1960s.
“The increase in births is, in the main, concentrated in areas across a central corridor of Birmingham in which the city council is already experiencing high pressure for school places, due primarily to the levels of newly-arrived residents and the limited dispersion of immigrant communities in other areas.
“Work is planned to be carried out during the 2010 summer break.”
Hazel Pulley, headteacher of Parkfield Community School in Saltley, has welcomed news a temporary classroom will enable her to provide 30 extra places, which would increase current pupil numbers from 738 to 768.
Ms Pulley said: “We have been coping well here and the situation is manageable. Our prime reason is to educate children and it’s important that every child is given a place. You would have to consider the effect that it would have on the 738 children presently here and through careful assessment, we can accommodate these children although it will be challenging.”
Ms Pulley said the school will receive a mobile unit to accommodate the extra pupils as they wait to see if there will be a further increase.
She said: “The parents who have received places are very pleased.
“There is some land adjacent to the school and we would love the authority to give us that land to provide a better learning environment. Our MP Liam Byrne is looking into this.”
n The council has also approved £1.3 million of urgent repair work to Oldknow Junior School, in Yardley, after “major structural faults” were identified by city engineers.
The work will be completed by January 2011. It follows emergency repairs that were made in October 2009 when cracks were found in the ceilings, roof and walls.
Councillor Paul Tilsley, deputy leader of the city council and chair of the cabinet property committee, said: “The committee was told about the need for additional school places and these temporary buildings will be provided until we can build permanent facilities. We had to deal with the problems at Oldknow in order to keep the school open.”